Hello everybody. I know I said that I would cross-post all my BEDA blogs here, but... I decided not to. This is my Mexico blog. So I'm gonna delete the one I already have up, and if you want to read my Blog Every Day in April entries, you can read them at my BEDA blog. (I would recommend reading them. I think they're pretty entertaining.) Here is a link: BEDA!
Today, however, I BEDA'd about Teotihuacan! It was so amazing. I don't feel like talking about it again, because I'm tired, so I am just going to copy/paste. It's kind of a different format than my usual blogs, but I think it's more entertaining than usual, so hopefully you'll enjoy!
(Please be advised that this information comes solely as I remember it from the guide. If something is inaccurate, it could be my own forgetfulness or the inaccuracy of the information I received. That being said, aside from some dates, everything should be pretty much correct.)
Most people know Teotihuacan as an Aztec city. This is what I understood it to be until yesterday. Actually the city was built by the Olmecs over 2,000 years before the Aztecs found it. For whatever reason the Olmecs left or died off and the city was basically buried. When the Aztecs found it the pyramids looked like big hills because they were covered in thousands of years worth of dirt. Somehow they realized that the hills were not in fact mother nature's goose bumps* but rather man-built structures. I imagine the discovery went something like this:
Ancient little boy is playing ih his backyard with his plastic Fisher Price tool set. Little boy digs hole in his sandbox and hits a rock. Little boy digs all afternoon.
"MOM! Mom! Moooom!"
"Alex! Alex! Aleeeeex! See how annoying that is?"
Little boy huffs and runs into the next room.
"Dad! Dad, I found something cool in my SANDBOX!"
"That's nice, Alex."
Little boy huffs and goes back outside. Little boy takes human skull and carries it inside. Mom looks up from ancient telephone. Screams.
Next day ancient archaeologists dig up backyard and find part of a gigantic pyramid.
Okay, they actually probably didn't find skeletons on the pyramids. But, you get the picture.
So, the Aztecs find these pyramids and are like, "Hey. This is convenient. Let's build our temples on here!" So they build their temples on top of the already existing Olmec pyramids. Oh, and they're not really pyramids, they just have a similar shape to pyramids, so that's what most people call them. Yeah.
What else is interesting about the city? Oh! Want to know what "Teotihuacan" means? Land of the gods. Why? Because the Aztecs didn't actually live in Teotihuacan. They used it as a religious gathering place. (Let's say the little boy's sandbox was at church, and he was playing after Sunday School.) And they didn't know what it was called, because the Olmecs had built it thousands of years before, but they thought the structures were so enormous that no humans could have built it (these guys hadn't heard of the "wheel" yet) so they figured the gods must have built it. Enter the Spaniards. The Aztecs were just trying to tell the Spaniards about this city that the gods built, and they were like, "Come see this teotihuacan!" And the Spaniards were like, "Duhhhh... Teotiwhat? That's a funny name for a city." And so now we call it Teotihuacan.
Enough history? Okay. So there were three main structures and then a BUNCH of little ones. The first one we saw was the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (my FAVORITE Aztec god) and... another god whose name I can't remember. Sorry. But they shared a temple. And there were a bunch of serpent heads made out of rock on the side of the structure because "Quetzalcoatl" means "Feathered Serpent." This was very cool. We also saw some stuff set up for reconstruction. The guide said this is part of UN law that a country who discovers something has the obligation to reconstruct as much as they can or cover it back up. I don't know how accurate this is.
(Side note: Our guide was hilarious. At one point he got to talking about how the PRD, one of the main political parties, is the Mexican Communist party. And then he started going off on the Commies. One of the snarkier guys on the tour was like, "Good thing I didn't wear my Che shirt.")
Next we went to a museum with some artifacts and a huge replica of the whole area that took up the whole floor of a big room. There was a walkway going through the room made out of some kind of plexi-glass type thing. It was freaky, even though we were only raised two feet from the ground. I don't have a fear of heights, I just don't like feeling like the floor could collapse underneath me.
Then we CLIMBED THE PYRAMID OF THE SUN! I should mention that there are two big pyramids- that of the Sun and that of the Moon. The Sun is the biggest. Our guide said it was the second largest pyramid in the world (next to the big one in Egypt). The snarky guy had some pages from a travel book with him, and that said it was the third largest (next to the two biggest in Egypt? I think?). Either way, it was BIG. 354 stairs. I think. Maybe 10 more, I can't remember exactly. Yeah. So, we climbed. In recent years they have installed a really heavy-duty rope-type-thing that acts as a handrail. This was nice going up, but not COMPLETELY necessary. Now, going down is a different matter, but I'll get to that in a minute.
So, GOING UP the pyramid was NOT EASY. Luckily the pyramid had levels, so at each platform I stopped for a couple minutes and caught my breath. (Side note: I have borderline asthma, which makes climbing things just that much more difficult.) It was slow going, especially because it was very CROWDED. But I finally made it to the top, and oh! It was SPECTACULAR! The view was beautiful, once I got to a spot that wasn't blocked by tourists. And there was this big group of people standing in a circle doing some kind of meditation thingy on the top. That was neat.
Going down the pyramid? AWFUL. I HATE going down lots and lots of stairs. It hurts worse going up because you use these random muscles that you hardly ever use. It was rough. Also, it's a lot scarier going DOWN because you can SEE HOW FAR YOU MIGHT FALL. If you trip going down, you fall away from the pyramid. Not a happy thought.
(Side note: The sides of the pyramid have rocks sticking out of them all over the place. These were not, as our tour guide tried to tell us, for the ancients' coats.)
(That really was a SIDE note. Hahaha...)
At this point it's about 3:00. The sun is absolutely BEATING down on us. I have some sunscreen on my face, but I don't own a hat or anything. And I had plenty of water, but the water was getting HOT. And I felt exhausted from all the climbing. We took some pictures and then went to meet our group. A bunch of them had new water bottles and showed us the little shop where they bought them, so I drank the last of my warm water in anticipation of new, cold water. Go figure, they were out. They were getting more, but it was going to take too long and we had to go. Our bus was leaving at 4, and it was now 3:30. So no more water for us.
We didn't get to climb the Moon, because we were out of time, but I was kind of okay with that. I didn't want to climb anymore. I resolved to come back some day and climb the Moon. We took some more pictures. We had an interesting time finding the exit. Finally we got out of there and found bathrooms and a souvenir shop that had water and ice cream and nachos. I was so happy to eat those nachos, and I got a liter sized water bottle and drank about half of it before we even got to the bus. I also got a lime-flavored popsicle thingy (one of those big ones, not the tube-shaped ones) which was delicious. And then I half-slept the rest of the way home. When we got home, I had to pee really badly. And I had some kind of heat exhaustion or... something. I couldn't eat dinner. I felt too sick. And I had a hard time actually falling asleep. The fan was too noisy, but it was WAY too hot without it. I put my iPod in and listened to Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was too distracting. Finally I took it out and just closed my eyes. I fell asleep eventually.**
And that was my experience at Teotihuacan! Hope you learned something. Anyone with more information on the subject, feel free to post!
PS: I will upload pictures tomorrow, and I'll also link to my newest photo albums.
PPS: Speaking of tomorrow, I am going to do something like this for my BEDA post tomorrow. You'll see. It will be awesome.
*I was going to call them "Mother Nature's lady lumps," but that seemed somewhat inappropriate...
**My dream was so funny last night. My friend was over with her fiance, and he had made a list of... something. His favorite things on the internet? I don't know, I can't remember. But one of them was Mrs. Nerimon, and I was like, "Do you know who Nerimon is???" And he just shrugged and said, "Yeah." And then I asked, "Are you a NERDFIGHTER?" (This was important because he and his brother were the first people I thought of when I first watched Brotherhood 2.0.) He just shrugged again and said, "Yeah." And I was SO EXCITED because I had never met a Nerdfighter IRL (not counting my friends who introduced me to Nerdfighting), and it was so cool because he and his brother reminded me SO MUCH of John and Hank! So, apparently I dream about Nerdfighteria when I have Tiny Feathered-Serpent Disease. Go figure :)
(If you don't know what a Nerdfighter is, that's okay. I asked the guy I dreamed about if he knew what it was, and he didn't, either.)
By the way, I recently made it possible for people to comment on my blog. So, comment! I love hearing from you :)